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what to think. So certain was I at the time,
however, of the warning which my dream
seemed to convey, that I bade him seek some
other employment elsewhere, for I would
have him for my mate no longer. Then I
signalled for a boat, and came on shore,
intending to tell you all, and to consult upon
what is best to be done in this strange business.
But I am afraid you think me a fool."

"Then my father, upon his part, told me
of those dreams at home, and of the reason
of his being upon the way whereon I had
met him. It seemed to us both that the
neglect of four such wonderful coincidences
to say no more would be far from right, but
that at the same time we should not be justified
in punishing upon such evidence one who
might be, after all, as innocent of any evil
as either of us. So I turned back to the
village with my father, with the intention of
putting off to the rock, and coming to some
arrangement with the Italian, that should
not deprive him of his bread.

"A little after my departure, however, it
appeared that he had himself signalled for a
boat, and that, taking with him what little
property he possessed, he had landed, and been
seen to walk away northward, out of the town.
None of us have ever set eyes upon this man
from that eventful night. Whether he is
innocent, or whether he is guilty, it is not in
human power to tell. So certain, however,
in my arrogance, did I feel of his evil mind,
that when I read in the paper of their being
about to hang an Italian foreigner at this
place, for the murder of a man in his sleep, I
came here at once to satisfy myselfin hope
rather than in fear, I am ashamed to say, that
this fourfold dream would be found to have
had foundation. Pity for the soul of yon
poor wretch, however, soon touched my heart,
even before I saw him ; and when I looked
upon those awful lineaments, as he was lifted
up on the scaffold, I thanked Heaven, from
the bottom of my heart, that the man was a
stranger, and that our dreams, wonderful as
they were and are, still need unravelling."

Here the story of the sailor ended; and
presently he strode away to the railway
station of the line which was to take him home.
I have never seen him since, or heard any
other reference to this tale; but the
circumstances under which I heard it, with all their
terrible realities of Vice and Death, are not
more firmly fixed upon my memory than are
the occurrences which he related as above:
neither do they bear more distinctly, in my
own mind, the impression of truth.


Now, o'er the harvest meadows green
Their arrow-headed forms are seen;
    Now, o'er the pool they skim,
As if they wish'd to dive below,
To those far-sinking skies which glow
    Down through the waters dim.

With skilful wings their white breasts lave,
And oft the smooth translucent wave,
    Records the daring feat;
Until they shyly dart away
To where the swarming insects play,
    In some calm cool retreat.

Within the beech's gloaming shade,
They flit through every sombre glade
    Like bats upon the wing;
So swift and silently they go,
Amid the foliage to and fro,
    As 'twere some secret thing.

Thence home to shelt'ring eaves they hie,
And barns and lofts with twitt'ring cry,
    Melodiously resound;
And then each dark warm nest they seek,
To feed, from fond exhaustless beak
    The mouths that open round.

Once more! once more! away they dart,
To ransack with a curious art,
    The water, earth, and air;
The shade, the meadow, pool and sky,
As if they knew most happily,
    Each joy secreted there.

With tantalised and laggard sight,
We try to trace their thought-swift flight,
    Which thing may never be;
We can but wish, from this fair earth,
Our labour'd pleasures and feign'd mirth.
    As innocent and free.

Yet it may hap, perchance, they prize
Far better than their own clear skies,
    The heavens beneath the pool;
And Earth's reflections calm and green
May lovelier be to them, I ween,
    Than meadows fresh and cool.

But if this striving world of men
Should seem to their untutor'd ken
    A happier than their own;
Their blissful pinions let them stay,
And they shall wish, ere one short day,
    Such knowledge all unknown.


IN every period of English literary history,
authors have sought to hold the mirror up to
nature by means of essays describing the
manners, opinions, and peculiarities, of certain
classes of the community. In the beginning of
the seventeenth century, essays of this kind
issued from the press in great profusion, and
were more in demand than they have ever
subsequently been: a circumstance to be
explained with probability on two grounds
first, that the superficial differences separating
class from class were then very marked and
evident; secondly, that tales and novels had
scarcely begun to exercise the ingenuity of
writers. Indeed, contemporaneously with
the appearance of Mrs. Behn's romances, there
was a marked diminution in the number of
character books given to the publicthe loves
of Oronooco and Imoinda, and the licentious

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